Now You See ‘Um . . .

Spencer House

Spencer House

If you want to have an elegant B&B all to yourself, book a stay right before Christmas.  Sure, you’re taking a risk with weather and you might miss some of those delightful people wearing bulldog faces who will ram you right in the ankles with a Walmart buggy in their quest to get to those $3.75 towels before you do, but we all have difficult choices to make.  I made one of those tough calls this season and whisked my mom away to St. Mary’s, Georgia, a must-see place if you love quaint areas on the water and have a strong predilection for seafood.

As we rolled into town, years seemed to recycle themselves into the past.  The downtown area included unique stores and restaurants; and the beautiful, old churches recalled a time of horse and buggy before horsepower and asphalt became the religious requirement of the day.  Mom loved our B&B and spent her time popping into unoccupied bedrooms in order to coo at the armchairs and to test the validity of the wood with a series of knocks before declaring it a respectable antique.

Hard to believe this is a church in Georgia

Hard to believe this is a church in Georgia

On Monday I devised a plan that fell into the category of win-win: Mom would hit an antique mall while I met Lauren for a cup of coffee and a stroll around the park.  Once we deposited Mom outside of her personal Nirvana, Lauren and I doubled back for a latte and walk.

Although the park was ideal with half a dozen swings lining a path that faced the ocean, I had to pause and speculate over the sign that admonished visitors to watch their diction while on the premises.  With such lovely surroundings, I couldn’t imagine the need for such an edict unless this was a frequent stop for pirates, truck drivers, or overwrought administrative assistants whose sole task was to spend the day making photocopies that required hole-punching, collating, stapling and at least two toner changes per job.  So I simply shrugged, and we chose a spot so Lauren could tell me how married life had been treating her.  About five minutes into the conversation, the necessity of the sign became clear.

Notice the font on that last sign

Notice the font on that last sign

“So we’re going to split the holiday between my family and his,” Lauren said, as she slapped her upper arm.  “We’ll go to my house first,” and then she nailed her thigh, “then he’ll come back to work for a day,” she popped the side of her neck, “and then we’ll journey together to his parents’ house.”  She punctuated this last sentence with a swat to the elbow.

“Having problems?”

“It’s these darn No See ‘Ums.  They’re eating me alive.”  Lauren rubbed a spot on her forearm that was quickly turning pink.

“We could try rocking the swing to make it harder for them to bite a moving target, but that will only last about thirty seconds before I get motion sickness.  I can barely roll over in the bed without needing a Dramamine patch.”

“Let’s try a different location.”

So we did.  But the results were much the same.  And although I had to marvel at the fact that the No See ‘Ums turned up their noses at me when I’m normally a mosquito buffet, this mutant power of immunity was of little consequence to Lauren who was making enough arm movements to reroute overhead planes.  We finally admitted defeat and left.

When I pulled the car in front of the antique mall, Mom came out practically empty-handed, an unusual phenomenon after her confrontation with such vast square footage.  “You didn’t find a bargain, Mom?”

“No,” she sighed.  “I just didn’t see anything I liked.”

It must have been a No See ‘Um day on all fronts.

It's a Christmas cannon!

It’s a Christmas cannon!

© 2014 – Traci Carver


20 responses »

    • You have my sympathy. I visited Middle FL in October and looked like a Small Pox victim when I went home, all thanks to the little bloodsuckers. I’m sure they serve a purpose in nature, but it’s a hard one to respect . . .

  1. My husband and I stayed at the same B&B for one of our anniversaries. Can’t remember which one. One of my dearest friends is from St Mary’s and we go there often to the tea room she loves so much. We take the golf cart tour and learn something new each time. Thanks for sharing your travels.

    • Was the tea room called the Blue Goose? Or something like that? I tried that on my first trip there. And I noticed the golf carts! What a clever way to tool around in such a small area.
      As always, thanks for continuing to read, Carolyn!

  2. What a lovely way to braid three story strands. Are there more? Your mother sounds like a description of some of the ladies in my recurring blog topic “Southern Friends.” And I am too familiar with the pesky no see ‘ums.

    St. Mary’s is not that far from Jacksonville. You have piqued my interest in a weekend trip soon.

    What an entertaining writer you are, Traci!

    • You should definitely take a trip, Marian, since it is the perfect distance for a day jaunt. My mom is a southern lady who enjoys nice places and antiques with a tasty breakfast casserole at her disposal 🙂

  3. Sounds like a good way to unwind before the holidays! Hubby booked a B&B once in March (since we couldn’t go away for our anniversary) and we had the large Victorian house to ourselves. It was great!!! 🙂

    • So glad you had a positive experience. You really have to have a certain personality to enjoy a B&B, and my mom and I are prime targets for their marketing demographics. I love the rooms, the wrap around porches, the multi-course breakfast options . . . I should start planning another getaway right now 😀

  4. And here I thought Lauren was just punctuating her conversation with hand motions instead of profanity in order to adhere to local strictures! I’d laugh if I didn’t remember times when those blood sucking leeches have gotten me, too. Poor Lauren! No See ‘Ums AND in-laws. Hopefully she likes the latter MUCH more than the former. 😉

    • Oh, definitely! I just can’t believe that I was unmolested while I sat there. I wish the same were true for mosquitoes . . . especially those from PB 😀

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